Record number of LGBT people will participate in Democratic National Convention

When the Democratic National Convention officially kicks off on September 3 in Charlotte, North Carolina, the LGBT community will be represented more prominently than any previous DNC. According to the National Stonewall Democrats, over 530 openly LGBT participants will be official participants at the event. 486 will serve as delegates - representing 8.15 percent of the 5,963 delegates planning on participating in Charlotte - while 23 are alternate delgates, 20 are members of the Democratic National Committee, and 5 will be working as pages. 

These numbers are a huge jump from the 2008 DNC, when a then-record 350 openly LGBT people participated. Official representation at this huge political event is significant because it provides a place at the table for the LGBT community - a sign that the unique needs of the community are being heard.

Jerame Davis, executive director of the National Stonewall Democrats, explained the importance of the record number of LGBT participants: 

Dedicated activists, including those at the DNC and National Stonewall Democrats, made this historic moment possible by doggedly insisting that LGBT people have a seat at the table and by demonstrating the strength our community can bring to party politics. We didn't sit around wishing for a better Party, we made the Party better for LGBT people.

At the convention, the Democratic Party is expected to fully adopt the previously-announced draft of the official party platform, which includes a plank supporting the freedom to marry and language opposing the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. The plank came after months of work from advocacy organizations. Freedom to Marry led the charge with Democrats: Say I Do, our campaign to encourage Democratic elected officials to speak out about the importance of the freedom to marry. The campaign picked up incredible momentum this year, earning outspoken support from 22 Democratic senators, the Chair of this year's DNC, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Caroline Kennedy, and nine other co-chairs of President Obama's reelection campaign - plus more than 40,000 Americans who added their name to our online petition.

The party's decision to include its commitment to winning marriage for same-sex couples signals a huge success for the movement and a landmark step forward in the campaign to win marriage nationwide. Its inclusion of 530 openly LGBT participants in the DNC is similarly monumental. We celebrate this step forward and applaud the activists and organizations who have worked to make the 2012 DNC the most inclusive ever.